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Photo of Poppies. Research into the healthcare needs and issues of Australian and New Zealand Defence Force veterans, serving personnel and their families will be given renewed focus by the University of Otago, the Centre for Military and Veterans Health (CMVH) and the University of Queensland - now that a memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed.

In announcing the MOU, the Otago Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise) Professor Harlene Hayne says, “The opportunity for trans-Tasman cooperation in research activity is exciting. It gives us the opportunity to collaborate with a leading research Centre in the Asian-Pacific region. Together we will work on specific projects, build on existing strengths and expertise, and share data, information and knowledge.”

Established in 2004, CMVH is a consortium of three Universities (The University of Queensland, University of Adelaide, and Charles Darwin University), the Australian Defence Force (ADF), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).

It is the preferred health research provider for the Australian Defence Force and also conducts studies for the Department of Veterans' Affairs, as well as undertaking independently funded research.

The CMVH is gaining an international reputation as the Asia-Pacific region's pre-eminent provider of military and veterans' health research, professional development and think-tank programmes.

Its research generally falls within six key areas: post-deployment health; occupational health and safety; wellness and rehabilitation; women and families; health services (which include eHealth, communicable diseases, and workforce innovation); and grant funded research, which includes disaster response and environmental exposure.

“The University of Otago's broad research areas are very much of interest to us. Otago has considerable research expertise in the fields of health care, peace and conflict studies, international relations, biomechanics, mental health, and children and families, spread across several disciplines and faculties,” CMVH Director, Professor Peter Warfe says.

“We also appreciate New Zealand's importance given that ANZAC personnel often serve in the same theatres and peacekeeping areas, and that their personnel and families share the same issues. CMVH would like access to New Zealand's research expertise and data in this area and the University of Otago, with its international track record of research excellence, is perfectly placed to assist us.”

Several Otago researchers are reservists with the New Zealand Defence Force with a wealth of experience including deployment in Afghanistan, the Middle East, East Timor and the Solomon Islands. In addition, the University has links with Veterans Affairs New Zealand and the wider veteran community.

University of Otago Senior Lecturer and Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Mr Darryl Tong, who is also an Army Reserve Force Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps, says, “The MOU will be of considerable benefit to both countries and their Defence Forces, especially with the numbers of serving personnel that have served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands. These people will become the next generation of veterans both in New Zealand and Australia. Currently the numbers of Second World War veterans are dwindling and the needs of our veterans who have served in Korea, Borneo, Indonesia and Vietnam present a very different set of health issues.”

For more information contact

Dr James Conner
Senior Enterprise Manager - Government Sector
Research & Enterprise
University of Otago, Wellington
Tel 64 4 460 9808

Professor Harlene Hayne
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise),
University of Otago
Tel 64 3 479 8513

Mr Darryl Tong
Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
Tel 64 3 479 6530

Professor Peter Warfe
Centre for Military and Veterans' Health
The University of Queensland
Tel 61 7 3346 4873

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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